Monday, October 21, 2013

Humans, not resources!

Not Human Resources, Humans!

This image is meant to inform people involved in the 'staff' side of business that collaboration technologies are designed to empower and promote the 'human' aspects of the workplace, as opposed to the traditional treatment of them as resources to be commanded and controlled.

People want and need to communicate with people, not according to business function or job title, but for whatever reason they decide a person can help them do their job better.

If you want innovative, productive and dedicated people working for you, you have to accept and trust that they know best how to do their job and what it takes to do it well. If people need help, they will ask for it; otherwise, get out of the way and enjoy the show.

Not Human Resources, Humans! by Jeffery A. Bechdol

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Making technology more human

I was inspired to create the above image on Polyvore after reading a few tweets and retweets like these from a friend I follow on Twitter, Oscar Berg:
Social technologies are accelerators of a transformation of work which has been waiting to happen for a long time
8 Sept 
"Social" has become the umbrella term for the adaptation of work & business to the creative economy
8 Sept 
Putting Social Media to Work by @billives < +1 integration with daily operations key to adoption #e20 #socbiz
20 Sept
The recipe for #socbiz / #e20 success is to understand existing culture & what buttons to push to start the transformation
8 Sept
RT @rickardhansson Many people say they want social tools at work, but when they realize it's about changing habits.. they don't "have the time"
8 Sept

Lately a lot of buzz on Twitter, and increasingly on Google Plus, around Social Business has been about the integration of social tools and platforms into the tasks, workflows and processes inside businesses. The theory is that doing so should lead to greater adoption among workers, eventually leading to cultural change making collaboration and knowledge sharing part of Business As Usual.

But at the moment, Social Business platform vendors are in an ever-escalating arms race for greater sales and vendor lock-in by releasing upgrades ever faster with ever more features, resulting in the oxymoron - complicated Web 2.0 tools. I'll leave Oscar ask the following

Oscar Berg is an Enterprise Collaboration consultant and a Social Business Expert Blogger. Oscar's pro blog is, and he can be followed on Twitter @oscarberg.  Find out more about Oscar.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A conversation about sources

Today is the 14 July, Bastille Day (appropriately enough). Last night I received a tweet from fellow community facilitator, @jamiebillingham.

Taken aback, I couldn't imagine how to respond to Jamie, so ...

... and entreated Jamie to view my Twitter favorites to see my influences, upon which she replied, "our faves lists looks eerily similar :-)"

I also had the good fortune of receiving some tweets from @hrheingold, including:

The conversation ran its course but I was still nagged by Jamie's question, "what are the theories or mental models I base my practice on? Reflective practitioner stuff."

Thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that so much of what is happening today, and our conversations around them, are refractions emanating from a singular beam of light - The Cluetrain Manifesto.

I won't bother comparing the Cluetrain 95 theses to the impact of Luther's 95 Theses - just Google the words Luther AND Cluetrain, and you will see umpteen articles exploring the same ground. Let it suffice to say that the revolutionary changes being felt today in politics, business and society are just as profound as they were in the 16th century.

Wikipedia summarizes the essential message of Cluetrain to be:
"A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter, and getting smarter faster than most companies."
The Cluetrain Manifesto - Abridged is a paper from DigEcon Research based on work by Sandra Davey, which distills the 95 Theses into 10 principles:
  1. Markets are human conversations 
  2. The internet has made the network the dominant form of organization
  3. People rely on their network not authority
  4. Principles need to replace positions, and be at the centre of the conversation
  5. Loyalty is built on honest two-way communication  
  6. Corporations need to belong to a community
  7. The market and the company are not separate - they are one
  8. Marketing is not a mediator between the customer and the company
  9. The customer-centric organization is dead
  10. The revolution is happening.
Companies which ignore the above principles do so at their own peril; their days are numbered.

I would also add that the people I follow on Twitter have had an enormous influence on how I helped people as a community manager.


For a brief review of Cluetrain, read The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual by Mark McLaren.

The full Cluetrain Manifesto by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger is at

Sunday, June 05, 2011

E2.0 / Social Business selected tweets 28 May - 5 June 2011

My tweet of the week is the blog topic The synaptic fluid of social business by Anne McCrossan. Anne uses a beautiful graphic of neural synapses to illustrate the connectivity derived from the network effect. 

C-suite executives are becoming aware of the advantages of increased connectivity between stakeholders, employees and customers. 
"The action potential contained within committed, visceral and trustworthy human relationships, that’s at the heart of the social connections, has never been more important." 

For those businesses which ban Facebook, Twitter and networking in general, Anne describes this as "a very modern form of 
disenfranchisement; being denied a networked identity, may become the ultimate social sanction of this century." The old power structures, with their utilitarian emphasis on profits and processes, are inimical to an open business culture. 

Also, implementng a social intranet without a commensurate change in culture towards inclusion, co-creation and knowledge sharing 
will result in the struggle and ultimate failure of businesses to benefit from the network effects derived from true openness and transparency. 

An open business culture is one which values human relationships. As Anne says, "Trust is the synaptic fluid of social business". 

The purpose of creating a weekly blog topic of curated Twitter tweets is to share a wide variety of topics and resources about Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business; being a curator for the onslaught of new content generated daily. Anyone can become a content curator. Twitter's 140 character limit forces one to write with clarity and to the point.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

You have new and existing social customers

The advantage of having an excellent peer network on Twitter is that I get to see what's trending in the Sodial Media and Social Business spaces at any given time.

One particular trend I have noted in the last few weeks is the growing opinion that Social Media Marketing (SMM), as it is being practiced by many companies today, is ineffectual at best and turning customers totally off at worst. Don't take my word for it, take a look for yourself: 

The primary reason for SMM's failings is that Social Media strategy has been hijacked by Marketing for the purpose of new customer acquisitions only. What many existing customers are finding is that there isn't a strategy for customer retention; no social media feedback mechanisms in place for Customer Experience and Customer Service to act upon. 

This approach is one which is focused on short term profits from the social space. It is also 
a recipe for SM failure and severe damage to a brand's reputation.

A sensible SM strategy is one which focuses equally on new customers and the retention of existing customersA Social Business is one which is customer and employee led. By networking your employees with social tools, you can better scale to support and deliver an effective Social Media strategy. How effective is your Social Media strategy and what are you going to do about it?

See: Video and presentation: How to Scale Your Social Business Program and Achieve Escape Velocity (Keynote) by @jowyang at Altimeter.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Twylah difference

Twylah is a web app which helps you to get the most out of your tweetstream, and also gives you the opportunity to enhance your influence and online reputation.  

Twylah offers the following features: 

  • Aggregates your tweets into separate subject matter (keyword) twitter streams
  • Presents your tweets in a beautiful and dynamic magazine style webpage
  • Allows your follows to subscribe to each subject matter (keyword) twitter stream
  • Delivers the relevant twitter streams to your followers email
  • Encourages you followers to consume and engage with your tweets on your Twylah webpage
  • Allows you to clearly see if your tweets are relevant to your industry
  • Allows others to see your expertise
  • Allows you to better determine who to follow
Twylah’s analytics will determine
  • The best times and days to tweet.
  • Which followers to engage
  • The success of each of your tweets
  • The success of each subject matter (keyword)

But what has sold me most about Twylah has been the human touch - as is evident in the above video with Robert Scoble. Eric Kim, the founder and CEO, has been friendly and generous with me on emails, chats (video & text) and tweets. Eric is a model CEO for all businesses to emulate because of the intimate, hands-on approach he has with his customers and brand advocates.

Though he may be swamped with the demands of running a growing start-up, Eric 
and his wife Kelly always make time to talk with people. They realize that the online space today is about networking with authentic relationships; in this regard Twylah leads by example. If you haven't tried Twylah yet, sign up for the beta. You'll be glad you did.

Improve your Twitter Influence and Reputation with Twylah (Video Review) by @terrycrosby

Note: There is a glitch with the service I usually use to compile my weekly fav'd tweets, so there won't be a Selected Tweets post this week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Be careful what you ask for

When rolling out an internal community at work, you may find a very vocal minority will use Social Media as a platform for advancing their own agenda above all else, the 'what's in it for me' people. They are less interested in how they can improve their team or the business, and more intent on broadcasting what they are all about. What they have to contribute has limited value in terms of what the business as a whole can gain from them - they have a very small area of impact.

For the rest of us, collaborative working is like it says on the tin: all of us (teams, departments, business units and those with shared interests) working together and getting things done for the good of each other and the business. No more, no less.

When people connect and work together their activities can positively affect learning, workflows, processes and innovation. The area of impact or potential value to the business grows exponentially. And it's not about numbers either; one or two people can affect change that alters the direction of a business, and can make the difference between stagnation and success.

That's why it's important when defining an internal social strategy and its outcomes that the focus is not on employees asking, "What's in it for me?", but instead, "What can we do for the business by collaborating and sharing knowledge together?" It's about pulling together to make the business a better place to work, do it and it will come to pass.

The natural result of employees participating in workplace collaboration is that they end up building a reputation for knowledge and expertise often beyond that for which they were hired in the first place. This may open doors in their careers they may have only dreamed about in the past. But this is as a consequence of sharing, not the motive for it in the first place.

For some this will be a very hard pill to swallow, but for others it will be seen as an opportunity for unleashing unused talents, for making new workplace relationships, and for actually becoming passionate about being at work. The above is from my experience of internal community management. If your viewpoint is similar or different, please feel free to comment.